POSTSCRIPT / October 5, 1999 / Tuesday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Like gunowners, solons also need psycho tests?

THE clinical findings of an American psychiatrist who examined this legislator in 1984 may explain (his/her) behavior, particularly (his/her) endless attacks on the object of (his/her) wrath.

We have the medical report signed by the doctor. We won’t tell who the patient is or give physical descriptions such as age, weight, height, and gender. Instead we’ll quote the substance of the findings and leave it to you to match the symptoms and the patient.

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THE legislator was taken to the clinic by someone claiming to be a brother. Chief complaint was of “generalized body malaise/ inability to sleep/ numbness of extremities/ extreme irritability/ irrational behavior/ hallucinations/ depressions/ sometimes entertaining suicide.”

Nursing description of patient: “Extremely neat, fancies colorful dresses and shoes. Habitually shakes head/ hypersensitive/ irrational outbursts/ inconsiderate/ vain and demanding/ prone to gestures/ indifferent but demands attention/ defiant/ arrogant/ sarcastic/ very violent temper/ childlike tantrums/ suspicious.”

Report (we’ll quote only part of it): “Per patient’s statement – (his/her) father has incurable venereal disease (gonorrhea)/ (his/her) mother is confined in a mental institution and (his/her) two sisters are undergoing psychiatric treatment.

“Patient has history of extreme debilitation to the extent of being bedridden for several months while suffering from severe headache, toothache and body malaise.

“Illness suffered in US and Phil. Islands, precipitated by stress, both physical and mental. Also childhood trauma.

“Likes flowers, plants, books, poems, sports, porno and adventure movies.”

Summation: “As corroborated by attending physician, patient is suffering from manic-depressive psychosis. Per clinical chart and nursing assessment, patient has extreme family disorder.

“Identifiable manifestations – Patient may refuse further medications and sessions. Indications – arrogance, hostility, distrust.”

Patient was discharged after showing “transitory improvement.” This includes “reduced hyperproductivity of speech/ less hyperactivity/ occasional logical thinking.”

Overall diagnosis includes “manic-depressive psychosis-manic phase/ schizoaffective disorder/ paranoid histrionic/ narcissistic personality disorder and obsessive compulsive personality disorder/ predisposing stress caused by trauma and psychogenic caused by inherent hatred for father’s immoral act.”

Medication prescribed: “Halloperidol/ Stelozine/ tranquilizer/ ETC.”

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THIS poor columnist confesses that some of the medical terms used are quite technical for him to simplify for the reader. By the report gives us enough clues as to the psychological state of the legislator when he/she launches one of those virulent attacks on pre-identified targets.

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THE grandstand proposal of Sen. Renato Cayetano for free parking in shopping malls and hotels is great in the papers and the boob tube – while it lasted. Kahit ako, siyempre I’m for free parking.

We’re not a lawyer like the Compañero and we’d fall asleep reading a law volume, but our simple non-legal mind tells us that the law cannot, or should not, force private individuals to give free public parking on their private property.

Note that even government offices do not always give free public parking in their open yards to any taxpayer who drives in. What more with private businessmen out to extract an extra peso from every square inch of space in their domain.

With due respect to the legal luminaries in the Senate, what we should do is regulate public parking, not force private individuals to surrender to the public the use of their private property without just compensation and due process.

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THERE are some obvious options open, if the good senator is willing to listen:

  1. Legal — Pass a law or ordinance regulating the private business of operating parking areas or buildings. Provisions will touch on fees (and this is where we can lower the rates), minimum facilities required and the responsibilities of the parking area operator. We can also review the Building Code provision for buildings to have a certain percentage of space devoted to parking.
  2. Political — Convince mall, hotel and restaurant owners to allow free parking for a certain number of hours corresponding to purchases as evidenced by customers’ validated receipts. Why should we be made to pay for reasonable parking when we patronize their establishments?

But if it could be done, by all means, let’s have free parking for legitimate buying customers!

* * *

OUR Compañero may also want to listen to contrary opinion from Postscript readers such as Sherwin S. Lago who says:

“Parking fees at commercial malls are a necessity. Similar to what has happened to Globe’s text messaging, once it’s free it will be abused. That is why Smart and Islacom are charging (per message) for their text messaging service to prevent what has happened to Globe.

“If parking areas in malls were free, people would be tempted to leave their vehicles longer than necessary. It would encourage people to ‘hang-out’ at the malls and legitimate shoppers may be outnumbered by people who occupy parking slots just to hang out.

“What should be addressed are issues involving: Exorbitant parking fees, the need for counters at the entrance of all floors indicating the number of slots still free, efficient ventilation in underground and multi-level parking buildings, and security of vehicles and passengers.”

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AT the Department of Tourism, the office has recalled all overseas tourism attaches who have overstayed in their posts. But one, Emma Ruth Yulo in New York, appears to be fighting the recall to become the only exception to a standing policy.

The standard tour of duty of personnel assigned to our missions abroad is four years. Most of the tourism attaches have been at their posts for at least six years. Ms. Yulo has been in New York for eight years. There is one even who has stayed overseas for close to 20 consecutive years starting with the tenure of then Tourism Secretary Jose D. Aspiras.

What is so “sadista” about recalling overstaying personnel? What is so special about Ms. Yulo that she has to be the exception? Tourism Secretary Gemma Cruz-Araneta said all the attaches have been given ample time to prepare to be recalled. They were told as early as December last year.

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EVEN ambassadors and chiefs of mission who are the administrative bosses of tourism attaches get recalled and rotated, so what is Ms. Yulo whining about?

If she keeps up her antics and refuses to report back to the DOT home office as directed, she runs the risk of being declared AWOL (Absent Without Leave).

Pretty soon, she will have to liquidate cash advances amounting to more than $200,000 or about P6.9 million, according to DOT officials. Some of these advances reportedly date as far back as 1996.

The DOT consulted the Civil Service Commission in formulating the recall process. Commissioner Corazon Alma de Leon and the CSC board arrived at an en banc decision supporting the DOT policy decision to recall the attaches.

The department also reviewed its organizational setup, particularly overseas offices. Overdue changes to its Policies and Procedures Manual have been adopted, such as those pertaining to overseas terms of office, and a system for future overseas appointments and recalls, according to Undersecretary Ram Antonio.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of October 5, 1999)

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